BT, FTTP, Water and Ducts

Uk_dp Some might argue that it had never really started, but in any case BT has announced that they were resuming FTTP deployment starting this month. Apparently the delay in deploying FTTP was due to other FTTP trials providing a lot of things to learn. Reading between the lines, and on the basis of the experience of other incumbents in Europe, I suspect what this really means is that they hit some major issues in the smaller trials they have begun, and wanted to solve those before expanding further. Makes sense, I guess. 

It'll be really interesting to see not only if BT delivers on its promises regarding FTTP, but perhaps more importantly the differential in success between their FTTP and their FTTC. Of course that will in part depend on the wholesale price policies they adopt. Still, I have already expressed here my concern that their FTTC endeavours were mostly doomed to fail, I hope their FTTP fares better.

On another – unrelated – note, I had a fascinating discussion yesterday with someone who might have given me the solution to the most enduring and frustrating mystery about what's happening in London NGA-wise: the whole of London is being dug up right now in order to replace legacy lead water pipes with modern plastic pipes. Every time I see one of these trenches, no matter what the state of advancement, there are clearly no telecom ducts there. I asked around, and several people told me that indeed there were no telecom ducts being laid. 'How stupid is that?' I kept asking myself, in a slightly less polite way.

The answer, it seems, is likely that the regulation authorities for water won't allow water companies to derive revenue outside of water provisioning without handing that revenue back to end-users. In other words, were the water companies to lay telecom ducts on the side of their water ducts and lease them out to operators, it would still be a zero sum game for them because they would have to pass on all of these revenues to end-user in the form of lower rates.

I haven't been able to verify this, but if it's true, talk about misaligned incentives…